Wells Nabs $2.3-Mln Merrill Team in NYC, $1.1-Mln Morgan Stanley Producer in CA
Wells Fargo Advisors lured teams on both coasts from rivals Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley heading into the Memorial Day holiday and coming out of the break, a spokeswoman for the wirehouse confirmed Tuesday.
Roth and Fiorita began their careers at Morgan Stanley in 2002 and 2001, respectively, left for a three-year stint with Merrill in 2004 and joined Morgan Stanley’s Smith Barney predecessor, Citigroup Global Markets, in 2007, according to their BrokerCheck profiles. They were registered with Morgan Stanley from 2009 until their 2012 departure for Merrill.
Roth and Fiorita, both of whom joined Wells as managing directors, according to their LinkedIn profiles, did not respond to requests for comment.
Separately, on Thursday of last week, a Westlake Village, California-based broker joined Wells for a second go-around with the firm after an eight-year stay with Morgan Stanley. The solo producer, Kevin D. Wright, managed $150 million in client assets and generated about $1.1 million in annual revenue, according to the Wells spokeswoman.
Wright began his career in 2000 with Morgan Stanley, moved to Prudential Securities Inc. in 2002 and hopped to Wells Fargo Advisors the next year, according to his BrokerCheck profile. He had left Wells in 2013 to return to Morgan Stanley, the database said.Wright, reached at his new office, declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Merrill did not respond to a request for comment while a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed Wright’s departure but declined further comment.
Both Wells and Merrill are signatories to the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, which allows brokers to take limited customer information and contact customers, although Merrill has said in court filings that customer leads from the bank are carved out from its legal protections. The firm in April secured a limited temporary restraining order from a Tennessee state court judge blocking a Wells Fargo Advisors team in Nashville from contacting lead-and-referral customers.
Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, exited the pact in 2017 along with wirehouse rival UBS.
Other recent hires at Wells, according to the firm’s spokeswoman, include:
- Samuel Tucker, who joined June 3 from Morgan Stanley in Lake Dothan, Alabama, managing $105 million and generating $960,000 in T-12;
- Spike Trueworthy, who joined May 21 from Ameriprise Financial Services in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, managing $120 million and generating $900,000 in T-12;
- and Rachel Eaton, who joined May 21 from Merrill in Roseville, California, managing $100 million and generating $800,000 in T-12.
Seeking to bolster its ranks following the departure of thousands of advisors after the bank’s 2016 fake account scandal, Wells Fargo Advisors has increased recruiting deals to advisors and has also offered higher-than-standard fees to headhunters who successfully recruit advisors.
Its sales force as of the end of March had declined by almost 2,000 net to 13,277 from 15,086 reported shortly before the scandal was disclosed. The current headcount figure includes several hundred private bankers and bank advisors added to the tally at the end of last year.
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf last week said that the bank, including its wealth management business, will be going on the offensive, by focusing on growth rather than contending with past problems.
“We’ve been extremely distracted as a company,” Scharf acknowledged during a virtual conference.